For the first time in years, the majority of Americans believe the country is heading in the right direction, according to an Associated Press poll released today. Their spirits have apparently been bolstered by President Barack Obama's whirlwind first 100 days in office. But House Minority Leader John Boehner, as can be expected, does not share their view.
(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)
Where others see cause for hope and optimism, the top House Republican sees only taxes and spending.
Boehner held a press conference today prior to a White House meeting with the president and Democratic and Republican leaders from the House and Senate. Boehner's bleak assessment of Mr. Obama's performance comes on the cusp of the president's 100th day.
Boehner also made a point of emphasizing the upcoming "Debt Day" -- the moment when all of the revenue that the federal government generated for this fiscal year will be used up.
"Every new program, everything that happens after Sunday, through September 30th, the balance of this fiscal year, is going to have to be borrowed from our kids and grandkids," said Boehner. "This is the earliest Debt Day in history."
Boehner told reporters that when he looks back at the Obama administration's initial days in office, he sees an unprecedented level of government intervention and profligate spending.
"I think if you look at the first 100 days you can sum it up pretty simply: spending, taxing, borrowing, and ducking the hard choices," said Boehner. "The Democrat policies, you know, like raising taxes on everyone in the middle of a recession, is going to hurt our economy and hurt jobs in America."
He said that last week's tea parties, protests against government spending and taxes, demonstrated the anger that Americans felt over the administration's policies.
Looking beyond deficit spending, the Republican leader was similarly pessimistic about the president's plans on everything from health care to national security to the environment.
Boehner did acknowledge that the administration had inherited an economic crisis and "clearly had a lot on their plate."
He added that he hoped to pressure Mr. Obama to work in a more bipartisan fashion going forward.
"The American people want us to work together, Democrats and Republicans, to -- to deal with the issues that -- that they're confronting every day," said Boehner.
Boehner wouldn't say if Mr. Obama got a passing grade on his first months in office, stopping short of assigning a letter mark. But he did say this: "the grade would not be very good."
Update 3:45 p.m. ET: Rep. Boehner's office contacted CBS News to note that the Associated Press poll also mentions that 80 percent of Americans share the congressman's concern about the rising federal debt.